Have you ever visited Stockholm? I went last weekend. Hubby and I go about once a year, because Stockholm is awesome and it's one of the few places you can fly to straight from Turku airport. A lot of people take the ferry over, but that takes forever and I don't enjoy the drinking and shopping parts of the cruise that much. I never get a good night's sleep on the boat, so then I'm tired and groggy the next day, which kind of ruins the trip for me. The flight is about forty-five minutes and Arlanda Express will get you straight to the heart of the city from the airport in only twenty minutes. There's a number of nice hotels within a few minutes' walk from the station. (I like Radisson Blue Waterfront. It's a bit on the pricy side, but it's practically on top of Centralen: you go up an escalator and there you are. Gamla Stan (Old Town) is only a ten minute walk away, as is Sergels Torg.) There are lots of cool designer hotels in Stockholm, too, if you like that kind of thing.
After we dropped off our bags on Thursday night, we headed over to the Ardbeg Embassy whiskey bar in Old Town. Hubby is a whiskey aficionado, and they have a great selection. They also serve lots of local microbrews. "Cellar Troll" has to be one of the coolest beer names ever.
Stockholm Old Town is one of my favourite places in the whole world. Going there is like stepping back in time, and the fog on Thursday night made it even more atmospheric. They also do ghost walks in Old Town a few times a week. Here's a link to the itinerary for the ones in English.
Check out the Monty Pythonesque fish-hand sign!
If you like antiques and steampunk, Old Town is the place to be. I loved these cool lamps.
This antique shop was straight out of Harry Potter.
An old phone booth. Remember those?
On Saturday we visited Pharmarium, an old pharmacy turned cocktail bar. The decor was steampunk meets 1800s opium den with a dash of the gothic, and the drinks were amazing. They also serve light bites to go with the drinks. Booking a table is a good idea; the place was packed.
The drinks menu.
This one was my favourite. It's called dark matter, and it tasted sweet and fresh and mysterious.
The Swedish Parliament, wreathed in fog.
For you all you steampunk lovers out there, the Vasa is worth checking out. The warship was built in the 1600s, but sank on her maiden voyage. The Swedes raised her from the ocean floor in 1961 and you can visit her at the Vasa Museum. It's about a forty-five minute walk from the town centre, but the same island houses many different museums. The gift shop is also worth a look: you can buy ship's biscuits, steampunk shot glasses, or even a real cannonball there.
On Friday we attended a lunch concert at the Royal Opera. The building itself is well worth seeing (you can take a tour in English if you like), but the lunch concert made the experience even more special. I highly recommend it. Here's the schedule for spring.
Next we visited the Army museum. A fascinating place, and entrance is free. The info is in Swedish and English, so you can get the full experience even if you don't speak Swedish.
The history of Swedish warfare pretty much ends in the 1800s, but there's a section on modern warfare, too.
This field kitchen felt very steampunk. (Yeah, I like steampunk, if you haven't noticed.)
What about eating? Okay, I have a few tips for you.
Afternoon tea, Swedish style, at the Wienercafeet. I think the picture says it all.
We had lunch at Nytorget 6, which is about half an hour's walk from the city centre, but pretty close to Fotografiska (a museum that features photography exhibitions and video art. Right now they're showing Eric Johansson's weird and wonderful photographs that bend reality in strange and magical ways.).
Nytorget 6 has delicious food, great service, and wonderfully dramatic decor. Definitely go if you're in the neighbourhood.
Stockholm is a great city for shopping. You have an abundance of vintage stores and flea markets for the thrifty magpies, quirky and cool new design for the trendsetters, and gourmet shops for the foodies, but this store is geek heaven: the Science Fiction Bokhandeln. It's located in Old Town and has a huge selection of manga, comics, boardgames, memorabilia, and books, of course, in English and in Swedish.
See the alien hanging from the roof?
Here's the obligatory loot photo. Most of this is from the SF Bookhandeln, but the dinosaur puppets and the book of Eric Johansson's photographs are from Fotografiska and the steampunk confectionary is from a gourmet shop. The fun belt with the hands is a flea market find.
On Sunday we took a tour of the city hall, where they hold the Nobel banquets. Very cool.
An amazing weekend. Hope you had a good one, too. If you have any strange and curious travel tips to contribute, comment away!